"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2016"

Jaden: After one amazing experience at Holiday Hoopla this weekend, you were an incredibly snuggly boy before bed later that night. You are so independent and grown-up these days, that our snuggle time isn't what it used to be. But you were overcome with happiness and thankfulness on this cozy night and kept leaning into me for extra hugs and chats. I soaked it up as we huddled underneath the tree lights together.

Brandon: You have gotten your fill of Christmas tree decorating, and you were so funny helping Nana Nancy figure out where to put things in their new house. You were also very helpful - assisting her with carrying boxes to and from the garage and helping string garland on their new front porch. You have so much of your Papa Bob and your mommy in you - wanting everything for Christmas time to be just perfect.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fall - From the Phone

Before I can jump into winter and all things holiday... a look back at one incredible Fall. I spent tonight going through all my Instagram and phone pictures from the last several months, and that sure helped facing a Monday morning a little less daunting. Need a reminder of how blessed you are even in the stress? Take a trip down memory lane and re-live your highlights. It's humbling. He is good to us.

Without further adieu, our Fall season in phone pictures.


//Cedar Valley Fan Rally night. Kicking off our Panthers' football season

//That magical picnic dinner by the river. Before the flood.

//Watching my husband coach, my son play, while drinking my favorite Fall drink. A little piece of heaven.

//Someone got into comic books...

...and shuffle board. We kept our kids at the bar a little late this night. ;)

//One of our favorite weekly meals. Sometimes we add noodles. And if we're lucky, we get to eat it outside.

//Apple baking and a delicious smelling kitchen.

//The first home game. The first tailgate of the year.

//What he can do with his finger and an I-Pad.

//Our one pot of mums even though I swore I wouldn't.

//A new book and a message I need.

//Vacation kickoff. I celebrated with my favorite ice cream and my favorite candle and a date night with my DVR. I remember this night so clearly. Excitement was at an all-time high as we looked forward to all things Mickey. And I can't wait to recreate that feeling again someday.

//Vacation. Sweet, sweet vacation...

...10 years to the day from our very first date, this is what we were doing...

...Spaceship Earth...

...a ride he HATED...

...Maybe my favorite picture of our trip and a two-minute ride that will hold memories for a lifetime...

...our very first Disney ride. We made it.

...a rainbow over Disney before Star Wars fireworks. So happy to be here...

...Finally. The castle...

...a goofy boy that never took off his Goofy hat. Even in 95 degree sunshine...

...the last night. Classic...

...Mission Space...

...our trip through Arendelle...

...the fountain we returned to and made wishes in every night...

...new clothes from Sally and Bob...

...the fireworks show I'd waited a lifetime for...

...and a goodbye. Until the next time we say hello. :)

//Back home. After school reading homework and snuggles.

//Returning home just in time for a town in crisis and another 100 year flood just eight years after the last.

//Pumpkins and my favorite leggings.

//This boy and all his touchdowns and how much fun it is to watch him do his favorite thing.



//Pumpkin Patch drives.

//And too much fun.

//The first basketball practice. The start of a new chapter. Awesome opportunities. And being the first one in the gym before they even turned the lights on.

//Tractor rides and blue skies.

//A short work trip, a fresh cut and color, and a hotel with a full service Starbucks in the lobby. (!!)

//Watch parties on football fields. Free food and beverages.

//Working from the deck as much as possible.

//Chilly games under the lights and the return of stocking hats.

//A Friday off from school and a lunch date by the fireplace at one of our favorite cold weather places.

//Anticipating the holidays already.

//Mama's helper.

//The morning after the leaves fell. With gold confetti, Fall threw itself a party.

//Pictures from teachers during the school day.

//Happy hour spent in the tub. 5:00 never felt so good.

//When he gets the urge to draw at 7 a.m. and doesn't even bother walking himself to the table.

//Our new prized reserved parking spot for basketball seasons. Happy to give back to the place I love so much.

//Basketball season. It's here.

//FINALLY not afraid of TC!

//Breakfasts outside and shielding my orange juice from the orange leaves that fell all around it.

//How Darth Vader feels when the Panthers lose.

//Halloween time.

//And a birthday for our Halloween kitty.


//Working outside on November 1st.

//My boy's sweet written words.


//My favorite way to do lunch on a Friday.

//Bribing them through shopping with Christmas cookies at 9:30 in the morning.

// Paddle boating. In Iowa. In November.

//A first basketball tournament and a pre-game huddle.

//Kitchen remodel plans.

//Saturday morning cozy sunlight streams.

//The last of the Autumn candles flickering to their end. It's been such a sweet season.

//Christmas Lego builds.

//A night with Ivy. Babysitting duties with our niece. She adores her big cousins.

//Stratego. A favorite.

//Saturday mornings huddled around the table. A holiday week ahead.

And -- before we close this chapter. A few videos. I hope Fall 2017 is as good as this one was. It's a little hard to let it all go.

//Vacation excitement.

//We're on an airplane!!

//Vintage Disney cartoons from the hotel room. He's a fan.

//Basketball season. Saturday morning workouts.

//Sunday night bedtime songs.